The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote on a request for proposals on Tuesday. If approved, the consultant could be chosen by early February, said Tony Hagler, the county’s human resources director.
Lee expects the study will take up to a year to finish and the recommendations could be expensive.
“Because it’s been such a long time since we’ve done one of these studies, the implications of the findings might be as much as a $2 million increase in what we need to allocate for salaries,” Lee said.
Hagler said the last two such studies the county conducted were in 1994, when it hired Slavin Nevins and Associates for $129,420, and in 2006, when it hired HR Management Partners for $107,824.
Hagler described the changes the last firm recommended for Cobb, which has about 4,500 full-time and 1,200 part-time employees.
“It was changes across the board, a lot of it affecting the sworn positions in police and fire and sheriff where it was bringing their salaries more in line with the market and adjusting our pay scales to be more competitive with the market area,” Hagler said.
Like Lee, Hagler believes there is a need for a new pay scale study.
“We know that we’re out of line with the market because we see what other people are requesting when they leave, and we know that people who are leaving to go to other jurisdictions, they tell us they’re leaving for more money, so we see more of that happening,” Hagler said. “Not actually doing a survey but just knowing from talking to other people when we can where our salaries sometimes are less than what we see posted in other jurisdictions.”
Hagler said an outside consultant is needed because he doesn’t have the staff in his department to conduct a yearlong analysis.
Also, “It was recommended by the last consultant that such a study should be done by organizations like, about every five years so we’re past five years.”
Lee said the Board of Commissioners in 2011 created the Citizens Oversight Committee, chaired by Brett McClung of northeast Cobb, owner of McClung and Associates, to look into best practices. That committee advised creating a second committee, called the Compensation Committee, formed in 2012 and chaired by Lee, to review Cobb’s human resources practices. It is this second committee that has now advised the commissioners to hire the consultant to produce the pay scale study.
Lee acknowledged it seems odd the Board of Commissioners created one committee resulting in a second committee that advised hiring a consultant to tell the board what to do.
“For the first-time reader, I wouldn’t disagree with you,” he said. “On the other hand, sometimes when I go and say, ‘OK, I want to just do it,’ people say, ‘Well, you haven’t studied it, you haven’t looked at it, shouldn’t we have a committee, where’s the citizens’ input?’”